Boise State has never beaten the Washington State Cougars in a football game.
Sure, it was back in the dark ages. Hell, Harsin was still a QB for two of those games and was a GA for the next one. The last time, in 2001, was his first season coaching. Hars doesn’t seem like the type of guy to let go of losing four times to a team that should be eminently beatable, since they’re pretty much the more clever version of the Vandals who also happen have some money from their legalized cannabis and undeserved TV contract. The intrigue going in to Saturday’s game has been magnified by the events of Week 1, even though it may not seem that way at first glance.
Yes, Washington State came out into Martin Stadium and lost to Eastern Washington. Also, yes, Eastern is an FCS school playing in the Big Sky conference, but they aren’t a bad football team. Far from it. Oregon steals their quarterbacks, they play for national championships. WSU has been a train wreck for years, fighting it out each week with BYU for the title of Who Couged It Worse. They lost to an FCS team last season, and they did it again Saturday night. But it doesn’t mean they suck either. Wazzu may not have the strongest of offensive lines or the most effective pass defense, but what they do have is firepower. They put up 418 yards through the air on a defense that may not be that much weaker than the BSU team that the Cougars will be facing.
Compare what Boise State and WSU did on offense this weekend.
More total yards, more rush yards, more passing yards…and didn’t lose to a damn Big Sky team!
Both teams no doubt put up prolific numbers. Luke Falk, WSU’s quarterback, put up 418 yards to Rypien’s 347 total, but once we consider that Falk played the entire game, whereas Ryp came out early, plus 50 of Boise’s passing yards came in the form of a beauty of a trick play that had WR Thomas Sperbeck looking like he’s not a bad option at QB if push came to shove. The difference is going to come in the run game. Boise State put a decent amount of yards on the ground, with both McWeapon and newcomer Alexander Mattison looking like the next big thing in Coach Marks’ punishing rb stable. WSU gave up 9.9 yards per play total over the weekend. If they have that same kind of abysmal defensive performance in Albertson’s Stadium over the weekend, Boise State will score approximately one million points and send the Cougars back up the Highway 95 goat trail with a record of 0-2.
Watch that corner, its a doozy. Which corner? Oh, all of them.
Defensively, Boise State only allowed Louisiana 3.6 yards per play. They got five freaking sacks, and looked for all the world like the world beating Bronco defenses we got used to in years past. WSU is a dangerous team. They can rip off big plays and score very quickly if things start going sideways in the Boise State secondary. But looking at last week it doesn’t seem like that will be an issue, because the Broncos seem to have remembered how to do things like open field tackle, swarm to the ball, communicate, and understand their roles in the defensive scheme.
This weekend should be viewed with cautious optimism. Boise beat a pretty decent cupcake (the humidity didn’t even melt the frosting!) last weekend down in the Bayou, but the Cajuns aren’t a pissed off, nothing left to lose Pac 12 team coached by someone who is either known in the best light as an offensive genius, or in the worst as a headcase who can’t coach defense. The Cougars, like some of their fans, can be volatile. Let’s hope Boise’s bars ordered enough booze to soothe their hurt kitty feels after their team loses on Saturday night on The Blue. Liquor will ease the pain, but that pain is much deserved. Hardly anybody beats Boise State twice OOC, let alone four times. This one is both for the respect of the past and the hope of the future. Let’s attack it together, shall we, Bronco Nation?
Hey, remember that time ESPN’s College Gameday came to Boise? That was pretty sweet. Looks like Pullman is going to have to wait again. What’s one more season, amirite, Cougs?